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Posted by Dexter Matilla - - 0 comments

Text and photos by Dexter R. Matilla
Philippine Daily Inquirer

First Posted 22:05:00 08/09/2010

OFTEN it is not easy to follow in the footsteps of those who would be considered masters. There is always the challenge of being measured up to and compared with those who have already set the standards.

In Metro Gallery’s “Salut! Homage to the Masters,” a group of contemporary artists give it a try nonetheless.

Each of the artists derive inspiration from such names as Degas, Da Vinci and Hidalgo, and, much like a distant cousin, each interpretation more or less stands out on its own unique way.

Easily the most recognizable is Ronald Caringal’s “There Are No Masters in Our Epoch.” One look at the work and you see Marilyn Monroe—Norma Jeane Mortenson here, as Caringal would like her to be known—stylized in four quadrants in the Pop Art ways of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. But one is left to wonder what’s on the third quadrant.

Face of the era

Caringal says that he chose Monroe as his subject “not only because she was unofficially the face of film and art in that era but mostly because she is purely reflective of how deeply the consumerist mentality runs then and even now.”

EJ Cabangon took a female face from Da Vinci’s “Virgin of the Rocks” and made her the subject of his work “Ode to Leo.”

Cabangon muses on how the expression on the girl’s face seems so relaxed. Upon first viewing, there is a certain dream-like quality to the work, and perhaps because of the artist’s treatment, the virgin’s face becomes all the more at peace.

Kadin Tiu chose to pay tribute to Eric Fischl and Edward Hopper with her “Girl by the Window.” A painting full of uncertainties, the work invites the audience to stand behind the subject and try to see what the girl sees beyond the curtains, beyond the blinds.

“I love how Fischl’s works have a voyeuristic element,” Tiu says. “The way his works are lit creates a silent tension that makes his works suspenseful. Hopper, meanwhile, creates unbalanced environments by using structures and light, giving his works a very ambient and mysterious feel.”

Girl for tractor

With “International,” artist Lawrence Borsoto re-imagines Andrew Wyeth’s famous painting “Christina’s World”.

Having spent his childhood in the countryside, Borsoto admits ricefields have been a recurring theme for him. In his work, Borsoto replaces Christina with a tractor. For whatever reason, only Borsoto knows.

“To know myself is not only my goal in painting, but in life as a whole,” Borsoto says. “Most of the time, I paint things of my distant and not so distant past. And every time, I discover new things about me. It is also a declaration and acceptance of who I am. When I paint these things, I can assess my development as a person, where I was and where I am now.”

Other artists in the show include Renato Habulan, Tyago Almario, Julio José Austria, Jojo Barja, Bjorn Calleja, Salvador Ching, Buds Concovar, Grace Corpuz, Jigger Cruz, Don Dalmacio, Parker Encisa, Pedro Garcia, Carlo Gernale, Vladimir Grutas, Joselito Jandayan, May Jandayan, Jon Jaylo, Jojo Lofranco, Jason Montinola, Mervin Pimentel, Elmer Roslin, Rovi Salegumba, Aner Sebastian, Robert Shook, CJ Tanedo and Clairelynn Uy.

The exhibit runs until Aug. 15. Metro Gallery is at 455 P. Guevarra St., San Juan City, Metro Manila. Call +632-7266543, +63917-8115399, and +639122 8-METRO-8. Email or for other details.

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